Gang doenjang (강된장) is a kind of reduced bean paste stew that we often eat in summer with steamed summer greens like squash leaves. This protein-rich reduction pairs with rice and greens for a healthy and complete meal that you can serve hot or cold. It’s something comforting, the kind of food you might have memories of eating at your grandparents’ farm in a shady outdoor pavilion.
I learned this recipe from my former coworker Hongran Lee and added a few of my own adjustments. The “gang” (강) in the name means “strong,” since it’s a reduced stew and has lots of flavor. But adding lots of vegetables helps make it more mild and sweet. And the addition of konggaru (콩가루, bean powder) makes it creamy and nutty, and gives you some thickness so you don’t have cook it for hours to reduce. One tip: Don’t add the konggaru directly to your stew in the early stages like you might for a roux; it turns out too gritty—make sure it mix with water and add later.
We also made gang doenjang at an event with Mangwon Market; photos here.
½ tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp sesame oil
5 tbsp konggaru (bean powder)
5 fresh pyogo (shiitake) mushrooms
6 green chilies
3 red chilies
200g Joseon hobak (Joseon summer squash, rounder and sweeter than zucchini)
3 cups water
Seasoning for beef:
200g minced beef
1 tbsp ganjang (soy sauce)
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp chopped scallion
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp sugar
A pinch of black pepper
1. Dice all vegetables (chilies should be diced finely)
2. Marinate minced beef
3. Drizzle 2 tbsp sesame oil in a pot and sauté beef lightly
4. Add vegetables (except chilies). Sauté lightly
5. Whisk doenjang and gochujang in 100ml of water and add to the pot
6. Whisk the konggaru in the remaining water and add to the pot
7. Add green and red chilies
Wrap in greens with a spoonful each of rice and gang doenjang. You can also make gang doenjang bibimbap by adding a few scoops of gang doenjang to your bowl of rice with any chopped vegetables you like.